Sunday, August 18, 2013


A friend from DC and some of his colleagues happen to be in town this week, so we decided to take a day trip to Heidelberg.  A charming little city, with a classic, partially ruined Schloss overlooking a quaint river.

Lots of cute houses covered in flowers and ivy

Old hotel

Market Square

I love the clouds

The Schloss

These houses (???) across the river were amazing

I want to live here

The "small" Fass

The "large" Fass

Which had a dance floor on top

I want to live here

Friday, August 16, 2013

Before and After

After I posted photos from our castle trip last weekend on facebook, I got a ton of compliments about how thin I looked.  Hearing these compliments is kind of a mixed proposition for me.  On one hand, I recognize how much weight I have lost, how loose my jeans feel, and how the shape of my face has changed.  On the other hand, I still see my gut everyday and recognize that I am still 40 lbs over my healthy weight.

Today, at work, I was talking with some co-workers and mentioned how I had lost 65 lbs in the past year.  They couldn't believe it, until I showed them some pictures from my road trip last year.  I hadn't looked at these pictures for a while and even I was amazed at the difference.  I went back and read my first running post (I still maintain that running sucks, but it isn't as hard as it used to be).  Anyway, I thought I'd share with you a few before and after pictures.

Dodger Game - June 2012

Castle - August 2013
As for the goals from back then, I think I've done pretty good
  1. Complete the Couch to 5k app by October 1, 2012
  2. Run a 5k race (fall 2012)
  3. Join some intramural sports league of some sort (fall 2012)
  4. Complete a 10k race (Spring 2013)  (and an 8k and 10 miler)
  5. Lose 30 lbs before Katie's Wedding (November 24, 2012).  (I was a little late, but got there)
  6. Lose 60 lbs before I go to Germany (May 2013)
  7. Lose two pant sizes (38x30) before I go to Germany
  8. Complete a marathon in Europe  (signed up for October 27, with a half marathon in 2 weeks)
  9. Do 100 sit-ups in 10 minutes
  10. Weigh less than 200 lbs.  (hopefully on my way)
  11. Ask at least one girl out per month (said girl has been Sara for 10 of the past 12 months, but I met this goal).

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

We slept in a castle!

Sara came here for the weekend and we had just an amazing time.  She landed on Friday morning and I met her at the airport with a bouquet of flowers and a cafe latte after her long flight.  My car had arrived earlier in the week, so I was able to drive out the airport.  After going back to the Siedlung and showing her around my apartment (she liked it more than she expected!), I revealed the big surprise for the weekend - we were spending the night in a romantic medieval castle overlooking the Rhein River.

A co-worker had mentioned that she had done this a few months ago.  This 900 year old castle has been renovated into a hotel.  It's called Castle Liebenstein (which means "love stone" in German) and sits over a bend in the Rhein.  The whole castle was filled with medieval finery.  We stayed in the canopy room, which for some reason was decorated like a chapel - complete with an alter, kneeler, and the vessels for holy water.
Our canopy bed
Our dining table with alter in the background

For the holy water
Medieval sconce

 The drive to the castle was pretty awesome. I entered the address of the hotel into the GPS and blindly followed its directions.  Despite Frankfurt being a pretty big city (at least compared to Belmopan), you can get out to the country pretty quickly.  We soon found ourselves driving on a small highway through beautiful rolling hills, farmland and vineyards.  We passed through a number of small towns, perfect in their German quaintness - exactly as you imagine in your stereotypes.

The only problem was that the closer we got, we still never saw the river.  The directions on the website had us follow the river, but we were in the middle of nowhere.  Suddenly, we came around a corner, saw a sign for the hotel, and climbed up a treacherous switchback that made me dream wistfully about my 4x4 I left behind in Belize and promise myself never to come back in the winter.  At the top of the hill, we were greeted with the most amazing view.
The town across the river

This is the neighboring castle

Somehow this is the only non-selfie photo we have from the weekend.
Bailey checking out the knight

The night in the castle was just amazing, but somehow the breakfast the next day may have been even better.  We then spent the day driving down the Rhein.  We stopped at the (relatively) famous Loreley Cliffs.  Supposedly this part of the river is very difficult to navigate and legend said sirens lived on the cliffs, but we both found the cliffs rather disappointing.  They were pretty, but not any prettier than what we had been seeing for the past hour.  

One of the more interesting aspects of the Rhein River is that there were almost no bridges crossing the river.  Outside the dual cities of Wiesbaden and Mainz, we saw no bridges over the river.  I presume it is some historical and aesthetic decision, but it just seemed odd.  We ended up taking a car ferry across the river, which was neater than a bridge anyway.

We finished our Rhine tour in Wiesbaded for the Rheingau Wine Festival.  Local vineyards bring their new wine to Wiesbaden for thousands of patrons to sample.  Hundreds of vendors were set up, most with several picnic tables available for patrons. Live music was set up on a number of stages.  German grandfathers danced with their blonde granddaughters.  Dozens of food stalls sold everything from pretzels to pizza to wurst.  Oh, and the weather was perfect.

We capped off Saturday night back in Frankfurt with a dinner in Old Sachsenhausen - the lively area across the river.  After choking down some of Frankfurt's famous Apfel Wein (really wasn't very tasty), we made our way across the Eisener Steg (Iron footbridge).  The bridge was covered in padlocks - which Sara explained to me couples had locked on the bridge to signify their love, throwing the key into the river so it can never be unlocked.  I then surprised her by pulling a padlock out of my pocket that I had been carrying around for the last four hours.  Our love is now locked up on the bridge forever (or at least until the city cuts off all of the padlocks).
Our lock

We slept in Sunday and then went out for a long run.  Not sure how we became that couple, but we both set personal records for distance.  When we came back to the Siedlung, we joined some of my co-workers for a BBQ.  Sunday night, we made dinner together and then watched a movie on Netflix (Emma - I wasn't a huge fan).  On Monday, Sara packed up in the morning and then I took her back to the airport.  The trip really hit the spot - a shot of energy that I desperately needed - but it just wasn't long enough.  The good news is that I will be visiting her in less than a month for her birthday.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

My apartment

I've gotten most of my stuff up and thought I'd take some pictures of my apartment while it is clean (just got a housekeeper this week).
View of kitchen with awesome gas stove

Opposite side of kitchen with large washer/dryer

View of living room

Living room with TV and book shelves

View of entrance from living room

View of desk area and dining room
View of master bedroom
Opposite side view of bedroom

Spare bedroom